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Prosecutors in the Maguindanao massacre case have asked a Quezon City court to formally charge Zaldy Ampatuan "at the earliest possible time," after the Supreme Court affirmed the indictment against him.
With the ruling, no more legal impediment exists to arraign the former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), deputy state prosecutor Peter Medalle said.
The prosecution also asked Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of Regional TrialCourt Branch 221 to deny Zaldy’s pending appeal on a March 29 ordersetting his arraignment, supposedly last April 26.
Zaldy, brother of primary accused Andal Ampatuan Jr. and son of clanpatriarch Andal Ampatuan Sr., is among the 195 charged for the deathsof 57 people on Nov. 23, 2009 in Maguindanao province.
After Zaldy's petition for review was denied, Medalle said theSupreme Court affirmed an earlier ruling of the Court of Appeals whichalso recognized the DOJ’s indictment of the accused.
“There is now no more justifiable cause for the deferment of accused’sarraignment. And as more than two years has lapsed since hisdetention, such long overdue arraignment is, under the rules, clearlya foregone conclusion,” the prosecution said.
The Supreme Court’s affirmation of the accused’s indictment had alsorendered moot and academic Zaldy’s appeal on the Quezon City court’s order for his arraignment.